Learning Session "D" - Tuesday April 2, 2019 10:15am - 11:30pm

D1         Consistency is Key: The Importance of Utilizing Support Systems and Mentorship for Academic Success

Angela Aceves, Junior Guardian Scholars Supervisor;

Zach Chandler, Guardian Scholars Coordinator;

Patricia King, Program Director,



Trauma creates barriers in placements, academic success, building relationships, self-care, and overall sustainability of a healthy life. Promises2Kids will discuss their program models, data and results that prove why consistent mentorship is critical to the success of foster youth in obtaining higher education. Attendees will interactively identify stereotypes about foster youth, how trauma has and will continue to impact them throughout their lifetime. Once barriers and trauma are understood, support systems and mentorship throughout educational pathways are capable to provide everlasting positive impact to foster youth.    Promises2Kids creates a brighter future for foster children in San Diego County. Their holistic approach allows student to gain the support necessary to navigate through barriers to obtain academic success. Their Guardian Scholars have a 95% high school graduation rate and an 85% college success rate due to our support systems.


D2      Trauma-Informed Student Centered Planning

Angela Griffin, Chief Program Officer, Treehouse

Youth Participant/Young Adult Alumni Participant


Treehouse’s innovative Graduation Success model is doubling the high school graduation rate of youth in foster care in Washington State. In this interactive workshop, Treehouse Education Specialists and youth in foster care/alumni of foster care will provide attendees with a practical introduction to the program model, tools and case studies to ensure youth graduate from high school at the same rate as their peers. The workshop includes an in-depth review of student centered planning--ongoing goal setting and coaching--through a trauma-informed lens to build youth engagement, self-determination, and self-advocacy skills, and opportunity to practice the skills presented.


D3      College and Career Options for Foster Youth with Disabilities

Debbie Raucher, Project Director, John Burton Advocates for Youth

Sandra Hamilton-Slane, Dean of Student Services, Shasta College

Kathi Mowers-Moore, Deputy Director, CA Dept of Rehabilitation


Disabilities are too often viewed as obstacles to success beyond high school but that doesn’t have to be true. By helping foster youth access appropriate disability services and supports, most can pursue post-secondary education and move into satisfying careers. We will explain career education pathways and how to access the disability support programs available in the community colleges. You will also learn about the services available from the Department of Rehabilitation and you will leave with a menu of clear options for foster youth with disabilities.


D4      Making Foster Youth Data Work for Your District to Improve Student Outcomes

Jill Rowland, Education Program Director, Alliance for Children's Rights

Alaina Moonves-Leb, Senior Staff Attorney, Statewide Education Rights, Alliance for Children's Rights

Mark Rodgers, Director Specialized Student Services, Bonita Unified School District


Identifying who your foster youth are, tagging them within your student information system, gathering aggregate data about their needs and outcomes, and analyzing what that data means is labor intensive and frustrating. Yet, this data can be used to shape appropriate policies and practices, ensure necessary resources are allocated to your youth, and drive positive change in their education experiences and outcomes. Six school districts have wrestled with how to effectively collect and use data to meaningful serve their foster youth for the last two years. Come hear the panelists share their experiences including the struggles and break through lessons learned.


D5         You Can’t Pour from an Empty Cup:  Educators Guide to Avoiding Burnout and Cultivating the Perfect Self Care Plan

Lakeah Dickerson, Senior Program Specialist, Los Angeles County Office of Education


Let’s be real. Burnout is a real thing and has negative affects on individuals and organizations. When we are feeling overwhelmed and overworked, it is easy to lose sight of the joy, meaning, and purpose of our profession. Taking small steps devoted to improving our own wellness and self-care will help us have a longer, more satisfying career and reduce our risk of burnout. We will review the causes and manifestations of burnout and present key activities you can implement to reduce the causes of burnout so you can create your own personalized self-care plan.


D6      School Stability in the Era of ESSA: Why it Takes More Than a Big Yellow Bus

Michelle Lustig, Ed.D, MSW, PPSC, President/CEO, Foster Horizons, Inc.

Rachelle Touzard, Ph.D, LMFT, Director, LA County Office of Education, FYSCP

Trish Kennedy, Director, Sacramento County Office of Education, FYSCP


California has had school stability entitlements in place for students in foster care since 2004. In 2015 these entitlements were included in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). While many communities continue to struggle to fully comply with the requirements of ESSA, many are experiencing increased levels of collaboration resulting in increased school stability for students in foster care. We will provide you national, state and local examples of how communities are increasing school stability for our students.


D7      Strategic Empathy for Healing and Resilience as Practiced in the UCLA GRIT Coaching Program

Nikita Gupta, Program Director -- UCLA GRIT Coaching Program, UCLA


What is the UCLA GRIT Coaching program? Come learn how its approach to coaching can re-define your roles as helping professionals while promoting growth and resilience in individuals and communities that have been impacted by trauma.  Learn how to use your empathy strategically to both prevent burnout and to facilitate the process of healing for your constituents.  This highly interactive and dialogue-based session will teach you a tool for promoting resilience that you can use in your work.


D8      Black in Foster Care

Christi Ketchum, Regional Coordinator, California Youth Connection;

Sade Daniels, Program Analyst, Jakara Rogers, Student Assistant, and Ahmed Nemr, Manager

California Office of the Foster Care Ombudsperson


Black in Foster Care delves into the complex realities that African American children and families face  within the child welfare system.  Come join in interactive activities that give you glimpses into how issues from proper hygiene products to 'law enforcement focused' safety planning adversely impacts black dependent children. Hear poignant discussions surrounding how today's racial climate impacts black children being raised in foster care and ways we can effectively address these concerns with culturally uplifting practices.


D9      Creative, Resourceful & Whole: Building Resilience with the Peer Coach Approach to Mentoring

Vanessa Davis, Youth Services Director and Nathan Brunetta, Strategic Partnership Associate

Just in Time for Foster Youth


Access to supportive relationships with people who understand trauma is one of the key research-based strategies for mitigating the impact of toxic stress from Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). Using our innovative model designed to fill the emerging need for trained peer mentors, Just in Time for Foster Youth will share our innovative Coach Approach to Mentoring (CA2M) curriculum for staff, volunteers and, most significantly, youth participants that shifts the mentoring mindset from the tendency to “judge, tell and fix” to “understanding, asking and empowering.” Young people discover their own solutions in powerful partnership with their peers and caring adults.

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Student Oriented Workshops